Interested in Naturopathic Medicine, Homeopathy, Bowen Therapy or the Neuroemotional Technique?

As the profile of Naturopathic Medicine in North America has been on the rise in recent years, I have increasingly been contacted by prospective Naturopathic Medical students who are interested frank feedback on my education and career as a Naturopathic Doctor in Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver & Port Coquitlam.

In fact, just this week, I received emails from three different individuals who, despite hailing each from different continents, all posed near-identical reiterations of this basic question.

When synchronicity blugeons me on the head like this, I can't help but take notice. :)

So, without further adieu, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a Naturopathic Medical career in the Greater Vancouver region of BC.

Lets start with some pros.

In short, my experience as a naturopath in the GVRD has been very rewarding thus far.

I mean that primarily in an emotional and spiritual sense, although this profession can no doubt be financially lucrative.

Of course, the value of doing something for which you have a passion cannot be underestimated, and certainly cannot be properly in mere dollars and cents.

On the other hand, there have naturally been downsides as well.

For instance, after completing my undergraduate Systems Engineering degree, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to both naturopathic (ND) and conventional allopathic (MD) medical schools.

While that doesn't sound like much of a downside, you'll see what I'm getting at soon! :)

I chose the former because, after having just left the cold, analytical world of engineering, I was careful to avoid thrusting myself back into another rigidly-mechanistic and numbingly-clinical program.

The scope of education at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine was certainly well-rounded enough to allow for training in somewhat non-clinical or alternative disciplines, such as electrotherapy and exercise rehabilitation training.

Additionally, the inclusion of the naturopathic core treatment disciplines:

  1. Homeopathy
  2. Botanical Medicine (Herbalism)
  3. Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM / TCM)
  4. Therapeutic Nutrition
  5. Psychological Counseling (including that of patients and their loved ones in near-death cases, or even through the death process, and cognitive behavioral therapy), and
  6. Physical Medicine (Naturopathic Physical Manipulation, similar to chiropractic, as well as Massage, Hydrotherapy, UV light, and ultrasound therapies)

gave me a plethora of useful skills that I still regularly use in my daily practice.

Nonetheless, as most graduates of the seven fully-accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools:

  1. Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
  2. Bastyr University
  3. Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
  4. National College of Natural Medicine
  5. Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
  6. University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine 
  7. National University of Health Sciences

would no doubt attest to, there's no shortage of clinical work involved in getting the ND degree! 

With extensive training in conventional clinical and biomedical sciences, such as:

  • Anatomy
  • Biomedicine
  • Biochemistry
  • Lab Diagnosis
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemical Connections
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Differential Diagnosis
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Oncology
  • Physical Clinical Diagnosis

as well as an additional post-graduate phamaceutical therapy course, I along with many of my collegues have attained sufficient training to prescribe all but the most restricted pharmaceuticals along MDs.

However, note that this does not imply that I choose to prescribe pharmaceuticals on a daily or even monthly basis.

Instead, as eloquently stated by Dr. Christoph Kind, ND, the president of the British Columbia Naturopathic Association (BCNA),

“In a sense, the ability to prescribe legitimizes the decision not to prescribe."

So, despite their seeming differences, there are many similarities between the depth, direction and focus of study in naturopathic and conventional (allopathic) medical schools alike.

This chart highlights the similarities between accredited ND and MD education - as well as the striking differences between the fully-accredited ND programs administered by the aforementioned seven schools (the leftmost two columns in the chart) and the non-accredited "ND" knockoff degrees issued in non-regulated states (the rightmost two columns).

As for my experience in my early years of practice, there were again some positives and some negatives.

One of the positives was that, by the completion of my ND degree, I had received a plethora of clinical training - over 2000 hours devoted specifically to seeing patients and making real-life treatment decisions - via the Boucher student clinic and intership.

This naturally helped to create a relatively smooth transition into the working world.

In fact, the interships I had completed presented me with job opportunities at multiple clinics on graduation.

As a result, I was able to begin part-time work between preparations for my week-long board exams, and this transitioned nicely into full-time work immediately thereafter.

On the other hand, due to the relatively low profile of NDs in North America today, as well as the degree of competition in Vancouver and, to a lesser extent, Port Coquitlam, I could not simply put out my shingle and magnetically begin attracting patients.

Admittedly, this magnetic force has become increasingly stronger in recent years.

However, I reason that has more to do with the positive word-of-mouth being spread by some of my wonderful patients than the modest increase in either Naturopathic Medicine's public image or the general demand for NDs in the GVRD, particularly in the heavily-saturated Vancouver city proper.

However, going back to the beginning of my career, I certainly could not then rely on word of mouth.

Instead, I was forced instead to wear the dual hats of physician and entrepreneur, and to manage the health of my business in tandem with that of my patients.

Despite having been well-trained for this businessman role, it was one I once long resisted, idealistically (and very stubbornly) shunning self-promotion in favour of intensive focus on patient care - which, after all, was what I became a doctor to do!

But at the end of the day, if one chooses to take the road less traveled, it's only natural that one must learn to blaze a trail.

And once that path has been cleared, the possible destinations to which it may be followed are limited only by a Naturopathic Doctor's drive, passion and imagination.

Naturopathic Medicine & Homeopathy Testimonials

I want to take the time to say how much I appreciate your excellent work in improving my health.

There was something unsettled in my gastrointestinal system that my family doctor wasn't able to fix and I was suffering daily.

In less then 6 months of being in your care I was feeling better than ever.

Not only were my specific problems taken care of but I've also noticed that my overall physical and mental health are greatly improved.

I recommend your services to any of my friends, family or co-workers who have health complaints.

Colin Aspinall, Port Coquitlam, BC

The trembling and shaking is not noticeable anymore, and the muscle weakness and tension is getting less.
It seems like it's gotten better every time I've seen you, so I have hope for it soon going away absolutely!
My eye sight is also stronger through the treatment, and I am not so forgetful or confused now.

Elle C., Vancouver (Kerrisdale), BC

According to my most recent lab tests, my MD said my diabetes is so well controlled it's like I don't even have diabetes anymore! I definitely feel much better, and am able to eat all my favorite foods again without my blood sugar spiking like it did before your naturopathic and homeopathic treatment. Even my daughter is doing much better, gaining weight and hitting her development milestones, since I've finally been able to breastfeed her without pain. Thank you for everything!

V. Chu, Richmond, B.C.

I used to have an constantly inflamed sore throat, as well as itchy, irritating skin problems.

These all got better after your homeopathic remedy and Bowen therapy.

It took a little longer for the vitiligo to respond, but it's no more than half as noticeable now than it was before.

Your neuroemotional technique and biofeedback seemed to particularly help it.

C.R., Sunshine Coast (Sechelt / Gibsons), BC

The homeopathic remedy helped make his seizures much gentler and more infrequent.

The muscle tension and weakness have also got quite a bit better with Andy's Bowen therapy treatments.

Jacob, Squamish (Garibaldi Highlands), BC

The cancer had made me so frustrated and slowed down.

Time was my enemy, and I had to get better.

Andy's homeopathic remedy, biofeedback and neuroemotional treatments helped my mood and bowels almost immediately.

The cancer didn't go away overnight, but began to recede gradually.

Even during this time though I could tell I was getting better.

I had more energy and motivation than I had had in 20 years.

So when the doctors told me the cancer had gone into partial remission, I wasn't surprised.

Colin Wood, Delta (Ladner), BC

For about three years, I was suffering from unpleasant symptoms with my digestion which eventually triggered my social anxiety that was going to the extent of periodic panic attacks occurring in crowds, before going out of home or with no apparent or trivially discoverable reason.

At first, the remedy Andy gave me made some gradual, slow changes, but we weren't quite there, yet. Later on, Andy found some interesting homeopathic solutions that improved my quality of life big time. 

Like with any sensible approach, I didn't become absolutely okay overnight (and I still have some issues) but it looks like my social anxiety came down to a much more tolerable level and I forgot when was the last time I experienced a panic attack like I did before. Suffice to say, I am not obsessed with my condition anymore — and that's a huge step forward.

Also, the probiotics and various herbal medicines Andy gave me to improve my digestion were working quite well, albeit at times those solutions were rather temporary.

I don't normally take any of these things regularly now and yet my stomach is doing much better than before.

Thank you, Andy!

Yurii, Vancouver (Kerrisdale), BC

My fingers and toes were always cold and white from the Raynaud's disease, and I would even faint sometimes from low blood pressure.

I additionally had spasms in my muscles and in my arteries and veins also that seemed to make it hard to take a breathe and made me feel like I had a heavy weight on my chest.

Andy's Bowen therapy helped lift this weight.

And the homeopathy and neuroemotional treatment made my spasms decrease over a matter of weeks.

My blood pressure seems more normal too - well, at least I don't get the fainting spells or dizziness like I used to.

My circulation has definitely improved - my hands and feet are pink and feel warm even when I'm not exercising. 

Marie B, Montreal, Quebec

The pain in my abdomen, hips, pelvis, back and intestines were there before pregnancy, but they all became 100 times worse during.

The pain was with me constantly, and just got worse as the pregnancy wore on.

Your bowen therapy was a lifesaver.

The pain was at a 9 or 10 out of 10 before the first session, but went down to a 5 or less afterwards.

With every bowen treatment, and your homeopathic remedies and emotional technique as well, the pain decreased more.

I can't say that the birth was completely pain-free, but it was way better than my first, and I'm certain I would've needed heavy-duty drugs if not for the bowen therapy.

C.P., Vancouver (Marpole), BC & Little Rock, Arkansas

I visited Dr. Andy for depression and after a thorough interview and muscle resistence testing I was prescribed a remedy and given a Bowen treatment.

I was literally a new person the morning after the treatment and felt ready to tackle the world again.

Dr. Andy is sympathetic and intuitive as well as knowledgeable.

His intense desire to help his patients and deep compassion brought about these quality results.

I have and will continue to recommend Dr. Andy to my friends and family.

Pam Johnson, Vancouver (Kerrisdale), B.C.

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